Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – The Circleville Fire Department will soon have new turnout gear, fire hoses and accessories after recently obtaining a federal grant through FEMA.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant, totaling $164,247, will be used to replace equipment and gear that has been in operation at the department for decades, according to Chief Marc Zingarelli.
“When I became chief, we identified some areas we were lacking in equipment but decided we couldn’t afford to replace it,” Zingarelli said. “But we found a grant, hired a grant writer to submit it and ended up getting it that way.”
Zingarelli said the money has been received, and the items must be put out for bid before purchasing can begin.
He said the fire department had to provide 5 percent in matching funds for the grant, for a total out-of-pocket expense of $8,212.
“The grant is money our community doesn’t have to come up with, and it’s $164,000 we were going to have to budget for,” he said. “This brings us up-to-date on the maintenance side of things and gets us back to having new equipment except for our trucks.”
Zingarelli said the department is currently looking at applying for additional grants to cover other purchases and expenses in the future.
“This is a huge thing,” he said. “We’ve got more grants we’re applying for and will hopefully get more help in funding as much as we can.”
Zingarelli said $60,500 of the grant money will go toward replacing turnout gear, including coats, helmets and gloves.
“We have nine sets of gear that’s over 20 years old,” Zingarelli said. “We have 10 sets that are 18 years old, three sets that are 16 years old and some others. We couldn’t even meet state standards with some of this stuff.”
The grant also will replace the majority of the department’s fire hose, in addition to nozzles and related valves and appliances.
“A lot of our fire hose is at least 20 to 30 years old,” he said. “We’re using hose that has been here longer than I have, and I’ve been here 26 years.”
Zingarelli said the department has been applying for grants for years without success, and he believes hiring a grant writer was the key to obtaining this one.
“Within five minutes, he was able to identify why we weren’t getting them,” Zingarelli said. “It cost about $2,500 for that, but $1,500 of it was reimbursed by the grant, so I guess I got my money’s worth.”
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal